The Last Bastion Is an Amazing Visual Story
Let me preface this with a few words to explain how most of the Overwatch community feels about Bastion, the Battle Automaton.
Everybody hates Bastion.
It’s a common consensus that if you play Bastion, it means you enjoy seeing other people’s pain. You’re the kind of person who would replace somebody’s candied apples with candied onions, the type of individual to snitch on your friends for talking in class and you’re the person who hands out toothbrushes instead of treats at Halloween. Needless to say, don’t be that person.
The hate isn’t unwarranted, it stems from a lot of sources. Whether it be from getting obliterated by Bastion’s unbelievable burst or just the sheer ease it takes to play that robot, the point still stands: people hate that evil little automaton. Blizzard must have noticed this because they decided to create their most recent animated short called The Last Bastion in an attempt to sway the public’s opinion on the bot.
Blizzard has made four other shorts like this, showcasing the origins of different characters, but this is the first time they’ve told a short story without any words. There’s no talking at all. This short only uses thoughtful animation and complimentary sounds to tell a captivating visual narrative. A bold creative decision, but it paid off. The Last Bastion is a heartwarming story and it made me change my mind about the once despised robot.
The first thing that stands out while watching this short is it’s Pixar-like quality and has a similar feel to the beginning portion of Wall-E. I could see this being shown right before a feature Disney film, and in fact, it could be. The Last Bastion is impressive enough that if somebody detached it from the Overwatch universe, it would still be a quirky little animation with the same impact. It’s such a simple concept as well – a robot tries to understand life after war with the help of a bird. Because it’s so easy to understand, it allows the animation to connect to a wider audience, one the previous shorts couldn’t reach. And it connected with me.
In seven minutes, The Last Bastion touches on a range of emotions, but curiosity and confusion are the most prominent ones. A little bird is searching for a home and stumbles upon an old warbot, which is surprisingly still functioning. The flower-ridden, disoriented robot wakes up to a new world with unfamiliar surroundings and explores in an attempt to understand the world around it. On its adventure, it passes by beautiful scenes of nature including a light rain shower in the woods, an inchworm crawling its first inch across a tree branch and symphony of chirping birds. All of these things may seem like nothing in your everyday routine, but this short makes every moment of those events matter, especially to Bastion. It made Bastion so… loveable.
The flashback sequences full of gunshots, explosions and war were the parts that hit me the hardest. It’s the first moment that it dawned on me – it’s not Bastions fault. It didn’t ask to be in a war and it didn’t plan to be overpowered, it was programmed to do so. Seeing its innocence and love for nature made me feel like an idiot for hating on him during my Overwatch matches I shouldn’t be so hard on Bastion or Bastion players. If you’re reading this and you still hate that robot, watch The Last Bastion. I guarantee it’ll change your opinion.